Baseball is a sport that takes a lot of time to get good, and unless you have a partner it can be a challenge to practice on your own. When you practice with the team you hit the ball and there is someone to catch and throw the ball back. Without the team, hitting and throwing practice can pose a challenge.
As a result the industry has provided a number of training aids that will speed up the process of advancing your skills outside of regular team practice. These training aids fall into three major categories; Pitching aids, hitting aids and throwing aids.
Pitching aids often come in the form of pitching machines. There are tees or stands that balls can be hit off of. For beginners this is an inexpensive way to start. Some of the tees provide a ball on a string so you do not even have to chase the ball after it has been hit. Once you get into more advanced baseball, pitching machines can control the speed of the ball and even provide balls thrown around the strike zone, rather than always down the middle. This will give you practice hitting balls at various speeds and in various places in the box. When asked the question, how do I become a better hitter? The answer is always times at bat. The more balls you hit the better you will be as a hitter. In practice you may get to hit the ball a dozen times. With a pitching machine you can hit the ball 50 times in an hour. If you have a hitting coach there to help you, they can work on your form, while you increase your power and accuracy when it comes to connecting with the ball.
Hitting aids come in many forms. These include screens that stop the ball to batting cages. There are many companies that provide batting cages where you can practice hitting the ball. These include pitching machines and the cages return the ball so you can get a lot of practice in a short period of time. For home use there are smaller replicas of commercial cages that can be placed in your back yard. Nets are also available. Nets do not have the encompassed protection that a cage provides but they are a good aid for catching throws, batting and pitching practice. There are some nets that provide a marked strike zone that increase accuracy with your pitching practice.
Ball throwing aids. These can be in the form of rebounders and nets. They “catch” the ball so that you can practice throwing at various distances to improve your accuracy. While it is always fun to have a second person to play catch with, when you are alone and want to practice these aids can provide a way to improve your skills.
Using training aids will increase your skill level much faster than relying on team practices alone. These are built with baseball in mind and many are very affordable for the child who loves to play the game.